Let me be frank – I wanted to hate the two toned 26711 “Root Beer” GMT. This watch, and the other two from the set of three GMT’s dropped at Bezel World 2018 received the usual fanfare, love, hate, criticism and hype associated with any Rolex release at the World Watch & Jewelry Show. However, there is more to this watch than first glance and I’m blaming Rolex directly for making HUGE mistakes with their promo materials.
The promo images of the Rolex GMT-Master-II 126711CHNR-0002 just looked utterly disappointing. Never has a photo done less justice to an otherwise beautiful watch.
At the core, it is “Everrose Gold” and steel. Or, as any other product would be called – Rose Gold. That’s right, the material much loved by my Grandmonther and young women in their twenties. Personally it’s not a color, or a material I want to see on a Rolex. I might be in the minority here, I don’t know. I see a lot of push for more Rose Gold materials on high end watches. I blame millennials. Not really, I don’t know who to blame. There is a trend in this direction however.
Anyways, it’s a Rolex. It’s a GMT Master II. It’s going to be a good watch and it’s going to sell. No one will question that. If it doesn’t look good however, then it’s not going to sell as much.
This two-tone rose version is probably an attempt by Rolex to release a model that’s nowhere near as expensive as the Yacht-Master II. Now, you don’t need to approach such nosebleed heights as a fan of two toned color schemes.
Again, I’m harping on Rose Gold. Rolex positions the GMT Master II as “the ultimate pilots watch”. Hell, it was even developed by Rolex in with the Pan Am Company, the manliest pilots ever known to man. Again, I know I’m in the minority, but the Rose Gold 126711 does not fit that positioning. Or at least not at first glance.
Here is where it gets interesting though. This is one of the few watches I honestly feel look absolutely horrendous in promotion photos shot by Rolex, yet look absolutely stunning in person. The black and brown ceramic bezel combine with the stainless steel and rose gold case/bracelet in a way that becomes somehow warm and inviting. The garish pink hues from the promo photos are gone, and in the same place is a soft comforting glow that looks natural. It pops without being too aggressive. Simply? It’s beautiful.
The chocolate brown and black have earned it the “Root Beer” moniker. It’s a Rolesor model, which essentially means it’s two toned. This is something Rolex has featured since the 1930’s and the process still looks beautiful today. It’s a cornerstone of the Oyster collection and what makes the 126711 special.
You may remember the 11857 “Root Beer” from 2001/2002. Steel and yellow gold finish paired with a brown metallic dial and a matching two-tone bezel. The new Root Beer is so much better.
We got three GMT Master II’s this year, of which the 116719BLRO-0002 undeniable stole the show. The Pepsi model as it affectionately is known featured with white gold and a red / blue Cerachrom insert. It’s just more eye catching than the other two has more “oopmh”. Although that watch caught flack as well for being ” pink and lilac purple” instead of blue and red. Every watch has a purpose however. The 126711 is stunning without being overpowering. It blends in, yet stands out. It’s hard to describe, and is without a doubt one of the most “you need to see in person” watches I have ever come across.
Now if I could have only one GMT Master II I would have to take a “Batman” (116710BLNR) model. That’s a strong watch however, and the 126711CHNR-0002 is much more suited for a less intense outfit and look.
The rose gold Root Beer is currently going over retail. I’m not so sure what this watch is going to price at when it starts going mainstream in the watch market. We’ll just have to wait and see, even though it is highly likely that it will fetch a number above retail. Currently, the retail price on the two-tone model is roughly $14,000 and as of June 2018 almost no one has it. I would expect it to hover slightly above retail on the secondary market for some time. As of writing, it’s fetching a $5,000 premium on sites like Chrono 24. Boutiques just don’t have any inventory and there is quite a waitlist. Compared to $37,000 for the Rose Gold sister watch released at the same time? That’s a no brainer for me. Even exceeding retail, that’s half the price and twice the look.
Rolex releases these things and their sold. Just gone. Unless you’re a VIP with connections, it’s not happening. You’re not tracking down a 126711 by walking into a store and slapping down your credit card.
The watch itself? Again, it’s a Rolex. Like most watch reviews, the focus is the look – not the features or build quality. With Rolex you’re not just paying for the brand. You’re paying for a quality heirloom piece.
What surprised me on this GMT Master II? The loom is actually blue!
Then you have the Glidelock bracelet. It’s Rolex perfection at the highest level ever. The hands are a Rose Gold surround and I have to say though, the brown hues remind me of the 70’s. Seems that is a color pallet trend making its way back into popularity.
Rose Gold itself is almost softer than yellow. It’s not the pink that comes across in the promo photos. Not at all.
Will we see a submariner in rose gold someday? Who knows. I’m not excited about it, but with the way they pulled it off the Rolex GMT Master II 126711CHNR-0002? I’m happy to see what they might be able to manage.